Halloween: New Poems--Al Sarrantonio (ed.)

Not as dreadful as one might expect of a collection of poems written largely by prose artists for an occasion.  Occasional poems are often not up to par, and so that should not come as a surprise when reading through many of these.  Some are dreadful, cynical, foul-mouthed, and written merely to get a rise out of the reader, but come off deader than their subject matters.

However, some are surprisingly good and surprisingly powerful.

from Beggar's Night
Gary A. Braunbeck and Lucy A. Snyder

But half past nine, flashlight batteries die,
buzzing streetlamps flicker to silent black
as scudding clouds blot the gibbous moon,
manly hearts jump as small sweaty fingers
impatiently twist free from daddies' hands.

That captures a moment perfectly.

Tom Disch delivers two wonderful poems, as in this excerpt

Another Horror Flick from DeSica
Thomas Disch

It's odd how the undead seem unaware
of their altered social status. The still struggle
with their ties in the morning. . ."
 
The uneven quality of the poetry aside, the book is a package including some excellent and respectably creepy pencil sketches.  There is enough good here to give the seasonal reader a moment or two of something to think about and enjoy.  However, one looking for great poetry would be well advised to look elsewhere.  As a handsome, seasonal, collectible book, this is a very fine work, but as a work of poetry, the mediocre and bad overwhelms the good.  And there is nothing that I would call brilliant in the collection.

[This book came to me as part of Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.]

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